The Slatest

North Carolina Republicans Ask the Supreme Court to Allow the State to Count Fewer Votes

Stickers that read "I Voted By Mail" sit on a table.
But did it get counted? Logan Cyrus/Getty Images

Republicans in North Carolina teamed up with the Trump campaign Thursday to petition the Supreme Court to weigh in and shorten the period of time after Election Day that mail-in ballots—postmarked by Nov. 3—can still be counted. The North Carolina GOP wants the period to accept ballots to revert to the previous three-day window, which was unanimously extended by the North Carolina State Board of Elections in September by six days due to concerns about postal delays. The argument the GOP is making is pretty straightforward, though the logic is unsurprisingly ridiculous. State GOP leaders argued in their appeal that the extended deadline “will result in disparate treatment by inhibiting the rights of voters who cast their absentee ballots before the Memorandum was issued.”


More people voting … inhibits the rights of voters that have already cast their ballots? What rights are those? The right to get your way? The right to have your candidate win? The North Carolina Republican Party really is at the vanguard of anti-democratic activity. You can’t gerrymander a presidential election after all, so they’re mucking around in any way they can find. Federal district and appeals courts, thankfully, both rejected the specious argument. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 12 to 3 against the Republicans, including all three Trump-nominated judges on the bench. The appeal by the Trump campaign, however, goes even further than the North Carolina GOP and asks the Supreme Court to set aside not just the six-day extension to count absentee ballots but all of the North Carolina state election board’s recent ballot directives aimed and handling this year’s surge in mail-in and early voting, including rules on how voters can correct small errors on their ballot.

The North Carolina dispute is part of a wider Republican and Trump-led effort to make it as difficult as possible to vote early, as well as cast an absentee ballot that actually gets counted. “The Supreme Court has already weighed in on another battleground state’s ballot deadline,” the Associated Press notes, “ruling earlier this week that Pennsylvania could count mailed-in ballots received up to three days after the Nov. 3 election, rejecting a Republican appeal.”